Saturday afternoon will be a big day in Oakland. The first-place Oakland Athletics are hosting their AL West rivals, the Texas Rangers, in a nationally televised game. Adding to that will be almost a freak accident of MLB on Fox scheduling: Joe Buck and Tim McCarver will make their first ever regular season appearance in Oakland.
The internet is often mean to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, the lead broadcasters for Major League Baseball on Fox. I'm not necessarily in that camp, however, for a couple of reasons. I think Buck has improved as a broadcaster over the years, especially since his vocal cord ailment in 2011, and I'd even go as far as saying he's a top-flight football announcer and a good baseball play-by-play man. McCarver brings back memories of when he was a broadcaster for my favorite team, the New York Mets, growing up.
You gotta admit, however, that they don't get around the league very much. Part of this is due to Buck's football commitments because he cuts away from baseball around the start of August to begin work on the NFL season and part of it is Fox's obsession with the Yankees and Red Sox and, to a lesser extent, the Cardinals and the Mets. Think about how bad the Mets have been for stretches in the past 15-20 years, but this will still likely be the only year in the history of MLB on Fox that Buck and McCarver have not worked a Mets game together.
A good example of the above is the game Joe and Tim are working this weekend: the Texas Rangers visiting the Oakland Athletics. It's a great choice for Game of the Week because it's two teams locked in a tight divisional race. Remember about a month ago that I pointed out that Buck and McCarver had not worked a Rangers regular season game together in 15 years? Well, a similar ignorance washes over the Oakland Athletics, a team that has been fairly good and made numerous playoff appearances during the Fox era.
I looked through the records of baseball broadcasting, which are available at the forums of The506, and found that Saturday afternoon's game will, in fact, be the first time Joe Buck and Tim McCarver have ever called a game from Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. That's insane, especially when considering they've been working together for 17 years and that the Athletics have made the playoffs six times in those 17 years.
If one wants to get technical, though, Buck and McCarver haven't completely ignored the A's. In fact, they've called exactly one regular season game together in which the A's were featured -- on June 10, 2006, when the Athletics visited Yankee Stadium. Buck and McCarver have also called four Oakland post-season games, all against the Yanks in 2000 and 2001 and one was even from Oakland Coliseum!
This comes in the final season McCarver will work as the lead analyst for Fox so it's interesting to see that they've actually stretched themselves a bit. In addition to working Texas and Oakland games for the first time in a while, they also called their first San Francisco Giants regular season game together since 2002 on July 6. That's a team that's won two of the last three World Series!
I kid Joe and Tim, for the most part, because we all know we'll miss them when McCarver moves on to his next gig and Joe's finding chemistry with a new analyst next year. But jeez, ya' think they could've mixed in some games that weren't Mets-Braves, Cardinals-Cubs and Yankees-Red Sox over the years?